Looking From The Sky, Drawing A Map

Imagine being able to see and draw the topography and enemy troop positions from a bird’s eye view…

That would offer advantages and an easier experience than the traditional mapmaking methods used during the American Civil War. Sketching from a high peak might be helpful, but what if the mapmaker could drift above the trees and hills?

New technology employed by the Union during the conflict offered the chance for the historic moment of creating a map while actually airborne! Today, we’ll talk about the Union Balloon Corps and the man who made the first known map sketched high above the ground. Continue reading

10 Things To Know About Civil War Maps

I’ve always been the type of researcher that wants a good map. Give me the battle details and a good map and I can follow along, but without a map – if I don’t already know the terrain and maneuver facts – I’ll be lost. Learning how to read the terrain of a battlefield is vastly different that just reading a map, but there are similarities.

Last year I had several interesting experiences: studying the creation of rather famous battle map through archived documents, learning how to read a battlefield accurately, and getting to work with a modern mapmaker to create essential maps for my new book. All of this got me thinking about mapping during the 1860’s.

To start off Gazette665’s January theme for Friday blog posts, here are ten important overview facts to know about Civil War maps and mapmaking. Continue reading

Maps & Charts: Works Of Art?

Maps and charts were necessary tools for navigation during the 19th Century. Without radios, GPS locators, and other location tracking devices, captains and crews relied on mathematical calculations, shore or celestial observations, and prepared maps and charts to help determine their location, route, and destination.

Following the War of 1812, exploration expeditions traveled the world, collecting useful information about weather, tides, shorelines, currents, winds, and more. The studies resulted in more accurate maps and charts for the mariners. Continue reading